Although changing the foods you eat may not seem like an effective treatment for stenosis, spinal pain can be reduced by eating a diet that provides proper nutrition for your spine and thereby possibly improves your spine’s overall health. Spinal stenosis is a condition that involves the narrowing of the spinal canal. When the canal narrows, the open space available for spinal nerves becomes constricted, and the nerves translate this increased pressure as pain. Common causes of stenosis and spinal nerve constriction include herniated discs, bulging discs, bone spurs, facet disease, osteoarthritis and spondylolisthesis. Each of these conditions can be exacerbated by inflammation, but there are dietary changes you can make to possibly reduce unnecessary inflammation in your body. Keep in mind that no dietary plan should ever be attempted without the supervision of a physician and a nutritionist.
The role of fatty acids
In general, foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids make inflammation worse, whereas foods that are rich in omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and possibly reduce spinal stenosis pain.
- Omega-6 fatty acids – often found in packaged foods that contain preservatives; also in dairy products (cheese, whole milk and egg yolks), beef, pork and processed meats.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – often found in canola oil, flaxseeds, a variety of nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), and fish (salmon, tuna and halibut.)
- Omega-9 fatty acids – often found in nuts, sesame oil, olive oil and avocados
Developing a treatment plan
If you have stenosis of the spine, you should design a nutritional plan with your physician. It will also be important to integrate other pain relief treatments, such as over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, yoga, physical therapy, behavior modification or anti-inflammatory steroid injections.
For the majority of the patients experiencing stenosis-related spinal pain, conservative, non-surgical treatments will alleviate symptoms within several months. However, if your condition escalates to severe stenosis and pain remains debilitating for six months or longer, your physician may suggest you consider surgery. If this is the case, the surgical team at Laser Spine Institute is ready to tell you about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that offer high success rates and an expedited recovery process. Contact LSI today.